The Hubris of Fact-Checking

Among my morning news stories, I found a thorough fact-checking of a fact-checking.  In truth, neither was all that factual.  The issue related to the surveillance video of election workers in Fulton County, Georgia.  One side argues the video is evidence of fraud.  The other side claims it is normal activity.  In truth, it’s a video open to many interpretations.  That’s not what I wish to discuss because I don’t have enough information to know who to believe.  I want to write about fact-checking.

Fact-checking someone’s opinion is like checking the wheels on a toboggan.  What is it about this all-too-common practice that makes my blood boil?  It’s the arrogance of one person claiming to know the absolute truth while alleging the person they disagree with doesn’t.  Where’s the judge and jury?  Besides, most fact-checking that I’ve seen is just as wrong in part or as a whole as the source being judged.  You can’t fact-check an opinion because it’s an opinion.  It’s not a fact.  We are each entitled to our opinions, right or wrong.  You can disagree with my opinion, but you cannot claim that it’s not my opinion.

When these elitist corporate publishers, providers of news, and the many social media outfits decide a story or a post is wrong, based on their fact-checking, what they are doing is elevating their opinions and marginalizing the opinions of others.  That’s allowed, but it’s not fact-checking, it’s disagreeing, and it is arrogant.  Their fact-check label is just a form of silencing or censoring.  It’s an attempt to control the information that is spread by discrediting the arguments and people they don’t like.

It’s not a lie if we believe it.  We have a right to be wrong.  God knows we all suffer that consequence from time to time.  It is an opinion which we are free to change if new information persuades us.  Silencing and censoring are assaults on truth.  Disagree as you wish, make your case, but don’t try to win the argument by preventing all dissent.  We make progress in this world, and in our lives, when all sides are heard and evaluated.  Toboggans don’t have wheels and opinions are not facts to be checked.

About DocStephens

Retired college professor of science and mathematics, academic administrator, and president (emeritus).
This entry was posted in Human Behavior, Media, Musings, Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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